Demolition may be one of the most haphazardly emotional films in recent memory; the film combines surrealist fantasy with legitimate emotion at every turn, with a satisfying emotional finale that follows a bizzare series of circumstances. The film follows Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man distraught by the loss of his wife in a car accident, who’s psychotic behavior brings him into conflict with his father in law (Chris Cooper). Through a series of events, Davis ends up company to a customer service associate (Naomi Watts) and her young son (Judah Lewis), attempting to deconstruct his marriage and solve his grief.
It’s a somber premise, and the film tries everything to add comedy to the situation. It’s never laugh out loud hilarious, but it is constantly entertaining, and while the film may rarely evoke emotion, it does display it well. Vallee also has a unique editing style that bridges the character motivations with thematic complexity.
Where the film truly shines however is its brilliant performances. Now considered to be one of the best actors of his generation, Jake Gyllenhaal brings a tour de force performance that feels real at all times, even when the film does not. His performance can get ridiculous, even silly, but there’s something very profound underneath. The same could be said for the film. Grade: B